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How to Deal with your Spending Hangover
By Kelsey Pyle
Panic | Steps | The Numbers | Addictions | More Addictions | Think | Little Things | Apply

Do you dread the first few months of the year, wishing you could fast-forward to October and start the holiday season all over again? Did your love of giving drain your bank account dry and run your credit card bills high? You may be suffering from a spending hangover and soon you’ll be “receiving” stacks of bills to balance your all-too generous “giving” from holiday seasons’ past.

Don’t panic
No matter how much you overspent or owe, you’ve got to stay cool and remember not to panic. If you put all of your time and energy into a panic mode of “what am I going to do,” without actually considering a plan of action, then there will be little or no time to (literally) pay the piper and come to grips with your debt.

Go through your bills and make a list of your purchases. How much did you spend on mom this year? What about your sister? Were you shocked at the $500 total for your boyfriend? How many of your purchases were impulse buys for yourself? Note all ATM withdrawals and try to remember what you used the cash for (this may be difficult).

Try to find all of the “spirit of the holidays” spending. This will be any purchase or activity that you would not normally buy/do any other time of the year, like splurging for a fancy meal, offering to pay for everyone, buying an item at a store the second you see it “just because.”

Hopefully, this will help you understand why you’ve overspent and where the money went. Try to set a spending budget per person and stick to it. Subtract the spending budget from the actual amount spent this past year and look at the difference. The difference will be the amount of money you will save the coming holiday season, since you will enter the season with a spending plan and adhere strictly to your preset guidelines (for you own financial safety).

By accepting your debt, it will be easier for you to recognize negative spending patterns and move towards the more positive direction of a debt-free existence.

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